Remember my music/phone debacle? After that, I started thinking. (Dangerous, I know, but bear with me.) What do we own these days?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hoarder, I declutter often, and I’m generally good about letting things go. I’d rather have an experience and memories than yet another thing/object.
But at the base, my frustration over the phone/music issue was because I own the things – the music and the phone. I own them outright – they are not on loan, they are not borrowed, I am not still paying them off. When I started looking for internet help with the issue, many of the responses were to get something like Google Play or Spotify.
I don’t want or need either of those. My youngest has a Spotify account – but the notion of that still seems crazy to me. Maybe it’s because I’m old. I’ve paid for the account (a birthday gift) for a year now. And when the subscription runs out, what is left? Nothing. Because you don’t own the music, you just pay to access it.
Same with lots of things – Netflix, Spotify, Adobe CC, Microsoft Office (or 365, or whatever it’s called now), Hulu – you name it, there’s a subscription/app for it. But again, when you stop paying the subscription, what do you have?
Empty hands and empty pockets.
Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t value in these things. Obviously there is, because people are using them. So maybe it is just me. For example, I want to own Photoshop, not rent it. I want to own my office suite of products, not rent them. Maybe that’s why I live in a house instead of renting an apartment. Why I own my car instead of leasing it. Why I still have DVD’s – which, come to think of it, I should rip onto my PC. I have a 1TB hard drive with lots of space to spare. And digital storage is ridiculously cheap these days.
With college tuition for two suddenly looming over my budget, I’m trying to pay off debts as quickly as I can and saving as much as I can before next August. Which means I’m paying a LOT more attention to my budget and discretionary spending.
House too cool? Sweaters and hoodies instead of reaching for the thermostat. Watch water consumption – shorter showers and as little laundry as I can get away with. Eating home cooked meals instead of eating out. Paying subscriptions for things I don’t actually need? Ludicrous. I don’t need Office 365 – there’s LibreOffice. It’s free, open-source, and compatible with Office. I don’t need Adobe CC – I only use Photoshop anyway, and there are free alternatives out there. For now, I’m happy with my PS CS6 version. Hulu, Netflix, and the like? I can watch YouTube for free.
I guess maybe I just suffer less from FOMO than other people? For example, I’ve never seen a single episode of Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones. Do I miss some pop culture references? Sure. Not enough to matter. And businesses with subscription models WANT you to keep paying for them, even if you don’t use them. All I know is, I’m tired of everything becoming a subscription. Plus, it’s been shown that when people use subscription services, they severely underestimate what they are spending. This Money article from February 2019 addresses why people continue to pay for subscriptions, even when they aren’t using them (spoiler – it’s FOMO).
I’m hopeful that perhaps people are becoming more aware of the issue. This article by Ernie Smith details how people are looking to move, change, or combine subs to save money. (It mentions that you can get Hulu if you pay for Spotify – so I may have to check that out, since I do.) TV/shows/movies are not a big deal for me – I rarely watch TV anymore anyway. I haven’t been to a movie theater in over a year, at least.
Maybe I’m just becoming a Luddite in my old age. Also – stay off my lawn! 😛